Iraqi rebels run up 500,000 pound phone bill

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Iraqi rebels run up 500,000 pound phone bill

You really have to laugh at this.

Sunday Mirror

BRITISH diplomats had a satellite phone stolen in Baghdad...and only noticed it was missing after a bill for FIVE HUNDRED THOUSAND POUNDS was run up.

The invoice shows thousands of phone calls made to Yemen and Saudi Arabia, bases for al-Qaeda terror networks. MI6 spy chiefs fear the "Thuraya" phone was used by insurgents to plot a wave of suicide bombings across Iraq.

Now furious Foreign Secretary Jack Straw has launched a major investigation into how the theft was allowed to happen - and why nothing was done until the huge bill was uncovered.

The theft was discovered in June when shocked staff at the British Embassy in Baghdad noticed the massive charges.

Even more shocking, it appears the phone may have been in the wrong hands for over two years. Thuraya has a flat rate of 70p per minute - meaning that the phone would have to have been used non-stop for nearly 18 months to run up such a bill.

A senior security source said:
... Quote:
This is a huge cock-up. We've got enough problems in Iraq without our own sat phones being intercepted and used by insurgents. It has to be the ultimate irony when terrorists use our equipment to organise suicide bombings and talk to their supporters elsewhere around the world.

Yesterday it was still unclear exactly how the phone was stolen but it is believed to have been sent from Britain to Baghdad via a courier. However the package - destined for a senior member of the Embassy's staff - never arrived.

Our source added:
... Quote:
M16 agents have been meticulously going through the numbers dialled in an effort to track down the culprits.

It is an extremely sensitive investigation and it is not possible to go into any great detail over who was being called.

Last night a Foreign Office spokesman said: "Following concerns over one of our satellite phones going missing in Baghdad it was debarred from use. An investigation into this is taking place. Until that is completed it's not possible to provide any further details."
By netchicken: posted on 31-10-2005

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